This isn’t right.
Instead of offering a lengthy, wordy statement, Niigata Bar Association Chairman Tetsuya Taira chose a simple phrase to express his opposition after the Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition rammed the controversial security bills through the Upper House in the early hours of Saturday.
In an official one-page statement, Taira wrote: “Okashii daro, kore,” which translates roughly as “This isn’t right,” in a large, bold font on a piece of white paper.
The bold statement, considered somewhat unusual since it came from lawyers, immediately went viral and triggered mixed reactions.
Shun Otokita, a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly and a popular blogger, praised the bar association’s “too straightforward” comment by calling it “a historic event” for what is usually a hidebound industry.
“Official statements often end up following tacit rules to be written in a stilted language, especially when it’s about politics. . . . Ultimately, they end up being read only by related parties,” he wrote Monday on his blog. “The essential language . . . may be the most effective way to convey messages.”
Kyoto lawyer Teruhito Watanabe agreed with Taira, tweeting, “The security bill is so amiss that the chair of a bar association had to give a statement in such short words.”
But some lawyers argue that bar associations, which all lawyers are expected to join, should not express specific political beliefs.
In July, Kyoto lawyer Kikuji Minamide sued the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, commonly known as Nichibenren, and the Kyoto Bar Association for issuing statements against the security bills and collective self-defense policies in June, the Sankei Shimbun reported.
“Nichibenren has become a political group to express a specific opinion. If they want to make an argument, they should start another private organization by collecting supporters, not as a group that all lawyers are mandated to join,” Minamide was quoted by Sankei as saying.
Along with the short statement, the Niigata Bar Association issued a lengthy version as well to express in detail its objections to the security bills.
“We have repeatedly expressed objection against these (security) bills to be enacted, pointing out they are against constitutionalism and perpetual pacifism, which form the basic principle of the Constitution,” the statement said.